Doing and saying stupid things in the twentieth century: Bêtise and animality in Deleuze and Derrida

Angelaki 18 (1):159-174 (2013)

If performativity means that to say stupid things is to do stupid things, then today stupidity is a very large problem, both within and outside philosophy, stemming, according to Adorno and Horkheimer, from a prostitution of the Aufklärung. But understanding stupidity seems almost to require becoming stupid oneself, as evidenced by Derrida's misunderstanding of Deleuze on just this topic, the former failing to grasp that the latter's account is founded on Simondon's theory of individuation, and on the difference between specific individuation and psychic individuation. This failure comes despite the fact that différance itself must be understood as individuation, and thus what both Deleuze and Derrida help us to think, without quite managing to think it themselves, is that stupidity must be understood in terms of that psychic being who is pharmacologically and technologically capable of being disindividuated
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